Men's basketball team knocks off Crusaders

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Men's basketball photo:Senior Jaris Wommack takes a 3-point jumper at the top of the key, just before the shot clock expires, during the middle of the first half against Evangel University Saturday in Collins Center.:The Baker Orange

After an upsetting 85-80 overtime loss at Central Methodist University Feb. 3, the Baker University men's basketball team bounced back Saturday to upset Evangel University 71-65 in Collins Center.

"Everyone was kind of upset after losing to Central Methodist just because we let that one get away, but we had a really good practice Friday and got a big win at home against Evangel Saturday," senior Jaris Wommack said.

The Wildcats had one of their best offensive performances of the season against Central Methodist, but head coach Brett Ballard was more concerned about  the team's defensive effort.

"We didn't guard like we needed to," Ballard said. "They had one player that got really hot, and we didn't adjust defensively as much as we should have."

Both teams had four players score in double figures, but Central Methodist's Curtis Smith led all scorers with 28 points. Eighteen of Smith's 28 points came from draining six 3-pointers.

The Eagles came into the matchup No. 10 in the HAAC, with a conference record of 2-10, which proved to the Wildcats that they can't take any teams for granted.

"When we were playing Central Methodist, I think we were too relaxed and thought it was going to be an easy win," Wommack said.

After two straight road losses, the Wildcats returned home to a tough task in playing Evangel Saturday in Collins Center.

The Crusaders entered the game with the second best record in the conference, at 10-2, but that did not phase BU.

Baker jumped out to a 5-3 lead to start the game and had control from then on. The 'Cats again had four players score in double figures, but holding the Crusaders to 19-56 shooting from the field was what was crucial to coming away with the victory.

"We watched some film on Friday before we practiced from our game on Thursday," Ballard said. "There were about 30 clips on there and about 24 were defensive clips. Evangel is a really good offensive team, and I was really happy about how we came back and responded on Saturday."

Baker is tied with Graceland University and Avila University for fifth place in the HAAC at 6-8 going into Thursday's slate of conference matchups.

"Every game is really important from here on out, especially if we are playing one of the teams we are tied with," sophomore Drew Berg said.

The Wildcats traveled to Avila Thursday to try to avenge a 78-76 loss to the Eagles in Collins Center earlier in the season, but results were not available at presstime.

BU will return to action at  4 p.m. Saturday in Collins Center to take on the Wildcats of Culver-Stockton College.

Baker defeated Culver-Stockton 64-52 Jan. 8 in Canton, Mo. in the previous matchup this season.

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